Idris Barzani (1944 – January 31, 1987) was a Kurdish politician in the Kurdistan Region. He was the brother of Massoud Barzani, the former president of the Kurdistan Region and the father of Nechervan Idris Barzani, The current president of the Kurdistan Region. He was often on diplomatic trips for the Kurdistan Democratic Party He died on January 31, 1987, of a heart attack, aged 43.
Idris Barzani was one of the most prominent political figures in Kurdish politics, spending his entire life serving the Kurdish cause alongside his father Mullah Mustafa and brother Massoud Barzani. Barzani was known to be the peacemaker figure among the Kurdish parties after the 1975 Algiers Agreement between Shah Pahlavi and Saddam Hussein which led to the Collapse of the Peace Accord. In the 1980s, Idris Barzani repeatedly attempted to hold a Kurdish Congress gathering the Kurds to unify the Kurdish political parties but his early sudden death didn't allow him to finish his duty.
Idris was born in 1944 in Barzan, a village in Iraqi Kurdistan, he moved to Mahabad with his father, family and thousands of peshmergas to join the newly established Republic of Mahabad which lasted only 11 months, afterward Barzani moved back to Barzan while his father Mullah Mustafa and 500 of his followers went to Soviet Union refusing to surrender to the neighboring regimes who oppressed the Kurdish people. Barzani in an early age of his life joined the Peshmerge serving in 1960's revolutions.
Iraqi - Kurdish Autonomy Agreement 1970
On 10 March 1970, the Iraqi regime then finally reached an agreement with the Kurds for the creation of an autonomous region in Northern Iraq. Idris Barzani played a major role in processing the agreement, he and president Barzani went to Baghdad on 11 March 1970, coming before a rally of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi people who were celebrating the day.
Following the collapse of the peace accord in 1975, Barzani, along with his family and thousands of Kurdish families settled in Iran and the KDP went through a chaotic period as it attempted to reorganize itself in face of the defeat at the hands of the Ba'ath in Iraq.
After Mullah Mustafa's death in 1979 Congress of KDP held in 1979. Idris Barzani, became a KDP top strategist under the party leadership of his brother President Barzani. He often represented the party in the west, lobbying for the Kurdish rights.
Idris Barzani suddenly died with a heart attack on 31 January 1987, he was buried in Iranian Kurdistan in Oshnavieh. On October 1993, his body was brought across the border from Iran to Iraqi Kurdistan to be reburied in Barzan.
KURDISTAN IRAQ: IDRIS BARZANI'S LAST TESTAMENT
“When I hear directly and very clearly from President Khamenei that the Iranian
leadership intends to leave the choice of a political system and political
leadership to the Iraqi people themselves, how can I not be satisfied? These
words are important to the Iraqsi opposition groups and will also make
relations between Iran and Arab countries easier”.
Idris Barzani could not have guessed that this comment on the Iraqi
opposition conference, held in Teheran on 24-28 December 1986, would be his
last public political statement. Only a matter of days later, on 31 January, he
died, aged 42, of a heart attack, during a session of the Kurdistan Democratic
Party (KDP) held near Urmieh, in Western Azerbaijan, near the Iraqi border.
During an exclusive interview with this reporter, Idris Barzani talked at
some length about the Iraqi opposition conference and its achievements.
Although all the Islamic organisations and Kurdish groups were represented,
others were notable by their absence.
They included the Arab nationalists (Nasserites, Baathists) and the Left
(Iraqi Communist Party, Democratic Rally). Whatever their reasons for staying
away it was clear to Idris Barzani that “their absence made it more difficult
for us to defend the position that all Iraqi people want free elections to
choose the regime which will follow Saddam Hussain’s fall. If they had been
there it would have been easier for us to defend our position”.
There were other important absentees. Although Abdul
Salam Jalloud, Libya’s number two, and Farouk al Shara, the Syrian foreign
minister, had said they would attend, they did not show up. Idris Barzani did
not deny that he was very surprised not to see them in Teheran but, he said, he
hoped their absence was only temporary and they would attend the next
The Kurdish question: a hot issue
The Kurdish question was one of the more hotly debated issues by the
“committee on the political future of Iraq”, chaired by Ali Mohammed Besharati,
the Iranian deputy foreign minister, with Seyid Mohammed Baker al Hakim,
spokesman for the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, as his
deputy. It was a thorny issue since not all the Kurdish groups arrived with the
same position. While the KDP is struggling for autonomy, Jelal Talabani’s
Patriotic Union of Kurdistan is asking for self-determination. Rassoul Mamand’s
Socialist Party of Kurdistan wants freedom for the Kurds, while Shaikh Mohammed
Khaled Barzani considers himself a “hezbollah”.
Clearly the Islamic groups are very sensitive about the use of the word
“national” rights. For them, remarked Idris Barzani, it is a preparatory stage
to independence. The Kurdish problem in Iran and Turkey is also part of the
issue and, since “we Kurds are interested in improving our future relations
with them we removed the word “national”.
In the same way, the final resolution adopted by the conference does not
mention the word “autonomy”, for the same reasons, admitted Idris Barzani. “If
mutual confidence develops, then all the problems will disappear”.
Asked if the Kurds had not been losing the battle of negotiations by making
too many concessions, Idris Barzani denied this vehemently: “We are not
repeating the concessions of the past... We are not accepting less than we are
struggling for... But to make this conference successful, so that nobody blames
the Kurds, we were prepared to accept general terms”. And seyid Mohammed Baker
al Hakim said in the committee: “I am going to guarantee to struggle for the
rights of the Kurds as if I were a Kurd”.
For Idris Barzani it was clear that the Middle East had reached a turning
point: “We are facing a new situation”, he said. “Before, we were dealing with
nationalist groups, but now we are dealing with Islamic groups. It is a new
situation for us, a new thing for the whole Middle East... We have to cope with
While his younger brother Massoud Barzani, aged 40 and KDP chairman since
1979, spent most of the time at the front, inside Iraqi Kurdistan, Idris was
living at Karadj, near Teheran, dealing with the Iranian authorities. From now
on Massoud Barzani will be left alone to take over General Barzani’s succession
and to build on the success of the policy of close relations with the regime in
Teheran. His task will be easier now that many other groups of the Iraqi
opposition have followed the KDP’s lead.